Catherine is St Killian’s star student – 10 times over

Roisin O'Kane, Shannon McLoughlin and Catherine Burns with St Killian's Vice Principals Padraig McIlwaine and Eileen McKay and Head of Key Stage 4 Dermot Logue. INLT 35-340-PR
Roisin O'Kane, Shannon McLoughlin and Catherine Burns with St Killian's Vice Principals Padraig McIlwaine and Eileen McKay and Head of Key Stage 4 Dermot Logue. INLT 35-340-PR

Following the recent superb A level results, GCSE students at St Killian’s have proven that the future of education in the Glens and East Antrim is very bright with excellent exam results across the board.

There were a number of top performers including Catherine Burns, who achieved 10 A*s, Roisin O’Kane (five A*s and six As), Shannon McLoughlin (six A*s and four As), Tanya Austin (seven A*s and three As), Claire Diamond (four A*s and six As), Aine McDonnell (six A*s and four As), Hannah McIlwaine (five A*s and five As) and Lauren O’Boyle (five A*s and five As).

Of the students who sat their exams in June, 86 per cent achieved five A*-C grades while 81 per cent gained seven A*-C or better. Over a third of St Killian’s pupils GCSE grades were A*-A; a significant rise of eight per cent on last year.

One of the success stories of St Killian’s was the continuation of the college mentoring system, which supports students to reach their full potential at all levels of the ability range. These students, without exception, outperformed their predicted GCSE grades and a number gained an extra three or four A*-C grades.

Principal Jonny Brady expressed his delight with another notable set of results at St Killian’s and said all pupils, teachers and parents should be “rightly proud”.

He added: “Given the continuing emphasis on numeracy and literacy, the results in mathematics and English continue to be strong and enjoyed pass rates which are higher than the NI average.

“Most encouraging was the fact that the majority of our young people succeeded and reached their potential with the help of a caring, dedicated and professional staff. Our successful mentoring system ensured significantly more pass grades than were predicted. This provides students with a greater opportunity and choice to progress to post 16 or make them more attractive to employers, which is so important in this increasingly competitive world.

“This fantastic set of results is down to the commitment, dedication and hard work of our students and staff, as well as the support and partnership that the school continues to develop and enjoy from our parents.

“The College would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our students on their outstanding results and we are looking forward to ensuring their future success at post 16.”

Some of the top performers in GCSE at St Killian’s are also successful sports stars.

Last Thursday, Catherine Burns was in the spotlight after collecting 10 A* grades, but that focus shifted over the weekend as she competed in the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing championships in Cork with the Carnlough club. Joining her in Cork was Shannon McLoughlin (six A*and four As) and Paul O’Loan (three A*s, five As and two Bs).

Speaking before the All-Ireland event, Catherine said: “I only took up rowing at the start of the year and am enjoying it. I have won silver and bronze in recent regattas to qualify for Cork and am looking forward to the challenge.”

Catherine has lowered her golf handicap to a respectable 23 over the summer and also competes at regional and provincial level in archery.

Another sporting all-rounder Roisin O’Kane sat 11 subjects and achieved five A* and six A grades. It has been a hectic year for the Glenravel girl as she helped her club athletics’ team to European silver in Portugal, competed in the European tug-of-war championships in Italy and was on the school camogie team that contested the Ulster final.

Roisin said: “The track and field season overlapped the exam period and a few of the teachers were a bit concerned when I had to go to London for a few days at the start of May to compete in the UK schools’ athletics finals.

“I took some books with me, but didn’t really get much chance to study as we were the first to compete in the new Olympic Stadium and there was a real buzz about the place.”

Mr Brady was not surprised that academic distinction followed sporting successes for the students.

“Roisin and the others are used to setting and then working to achieve sporting goals and they show the same competitive spirit in their school work.

“Overall this particular year group in St Killian’s has been very successful, winning Ulster titles in hurling, camogie and football and some of their GCSE results are also up there with the top achievers in the province.”

“We welcome these students back to Sixth Form studies and are confident that their academic and sporting careers will continue on an upward curve,” he concluded.